Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hesed.... God's most powerful tool

Mercy is like the mystery of forgiveness.  By definition, mercy and forgiveness are unearned, undeserved, not owed.  If is isn’t all those three, it won’t be experienced as mercy…..  You don’t know mercy until you’ve really needed it.  As Thomas Merton once said – and I’ve quoted it often – “Mercy within mercy within mercy. “  It’s as if we collapse into deeper nets of acceptance, deeper nets of being enclosed and finally find we are in a net we can’t fall out of.  We are captured by grace.
                                                                Richard Rohr, Jesus’ Plan for a New World, p.136


blessed are the merciful
happy are the merciful

for they shall receive mercy

what does mercy look like?
for some reason I have never thought much about that before
I’ve thought about forgiveness
but mercy?

can mercy live by itself
or is it always part of forgiveness?
can one have mercy toward another
but not forgive them?

or better yet, is forgiveness without mercy
really forgiveness at all?

and why is it we have so much trouble here?
start talking mercy and forgiveness with almost any Christian
and I will guarantee you that very quickly the conversation will turn to accountability

the “mercy” and the “forgiveness” will come with expectations
and will, in all too many cases turn quickly to “judgment” of some sort

we are like the ungrateful servant (Matthew 18) who radically forgiven his debt
the recipient of amazing mercy, went out and mercilessly assailed on who was in his debt

why we do this is complex, I believe
our own fear that we are not really and truly, fully, forgiven
our own mistrust of grace
our pride, our insistence that we have somehow earned what can only be received freely
or need for power or others?
why do I do it, for I do, at times, do this?
why do you?
when we move to this place
sometimes forgiveness and mercy disappear all together
sometimes we insist forgiveness is present
but there is no mercy

if there is no mercy
there is no forgiveness

I can hear the torment now
yes, but
yes, God loves us, but we can’t just…..

ignore the “sin”
ignore the “brokenness”

what do we think unconditional love is for?
our entertainment
do we honestly believe that by giving unconditional love to others
but accepting and forgiving
and showing mercy

we leave them “as they were”?

could we, once we really “got” God’s love
could we remain the way we were?
could we still destroy others?
destroy ourselves?

Ah this is a mystery
this thing called mercy
this thing called forgiveness

I struggle to accept it (from God and others)
I struggle to offer it to myself
I struggle to offer it to others

But I believe
abundant mercy
not grudging forgiveness
is at the heart of God’s movement toward me
and is meant to be at the heart
of my movement towards all around me

Have mercy!

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